Mamiya 16 ad (1960) GaMi 16 ad (1960)Minox B ad (1960)

Subminiature is smaller-than-35mm format, and for a time in the late 50s/early 60s, there was a concerted effort to exploit this market with cameras which took 8- and 16mm film.

The idea made sense: the trend toward ever smaller cameras is still with us: the majority of digital cameras on the market all have sensors that are around this size. And even these cameras have their advantages; they can easily be tucked into a pocket and ready with almost no notice. Of these three, I own only the Minox B, but it's undeniably small, light, and easy to use.

Frankly, I think these are all mis-marketed. The heyday for these is the Sputnik era, and a lot of people fancied themselves as amateur James Bonds. I think they should have been marketed directly to women. I grew up in the 70s when 110 cartridges were the big thing, and they were typically owned by women who kept them in their purses. These cameras, particularly the Minox, would have done just as well; they take little space, add little weight, and you don't need to take a community college course to learn how to use it.

Ultimately it didn't work. It wouldn't really catch on until Kodak made the 110, and even then, that died away in the 1980s when 35mm cameras got smaller and lighter, without the mediocre image quality when enlarged.